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News | IAEA Report; Iranian Intellectuals Warn Against Possible Military Attack

by MUHAMMAD SAHIMI in Los Angeles

08 Nov 2011 14:01Comments

Press Roundup provides a selected summary of news from the Farsi and Arabic press and excerpts where the source is in English. Tehran Bureau has not verified these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy. Any views expressed are the authors' own. Please refer to the Media Guide to help put the stories in perspective. You can follow breaking news stories on our Twitter feed.

Iran-Target1.jpgA copy of the IAEA report IAEA_Iran_8Nov2011.pdf

Statement by 120 Iranian Intellectuals about Possible Military Attacks on Iran

One hundred twenty Iranian intellectuals, political and human rights activists, and journalists [including the author] have issued a joint statement, condemning both the repression of the Iranian people by the Iranian government, and possible military attacks on Iran by Israel, the United States, and other countries.

The complete statement is as follows:

There have been worrying waves from several sides over the past several weeks that indicate that military attacks on Iran are once again becoming a distinct possibility, as some U.S., Israeli, British and other countries' officials, and even some members of the opposition to the Iranian government have supported such attacks by speaking carelessly and unwisely about them. The important developments that are referred to as the Arab Spring, particularly the fate of Libya's dictator [Muammar Gaddafi] and the overthrow of his dictatorship that became possible with the direct intervention and military operations of the NATO, have prompted some people's greed to covet liberation of Iran from the oppressive regime of Velaayat-e Faghih through a similar scenario. Such talks and irresponsible acts have created great danger for Iran and Iranians, and have made us concerned.

We the signatories of this [public] letter, a group of human rights defenders and [political and social] freedom activists, want peaceful transition to democracy and a government in Iran that emanate from free elections to secure the civil, political, social, cultural, and economical rights of all Iranians. We hope that there will soon be a political system in Iran in which all the Iranian people, men and women, from any ethnicity, language, religion and belief can participate in its running on equal basis and have effective presence in it, a political system that does not discriminate against half the population of the country -- the women -- and deny them their fundamental rights. We believe that the only way of achieving this goal is through stressing the national sovereignty, protecting Iran's territorial integrity, and recovery of all the rights of the people.

The behavior of the Islamic Republic of Iran over its lifetime has been against this goal. Hastily punishing the officials of the former regime [before the 1979 Revolution] without the due legal process, suppression of ethnic and religious minorities, violation of international treaties, torturing and massacre of political prisoners, intentional continuation of the destructive war [with Iraq], systematic elimination of the opposition members both in Iran and abroad, and expansion of state-sponsored terrorism, all covered ideologically by the dictatorship of the Velaayat-e Faghih, have made rejecting the responsibility [for what has happened] with a cover of dishonest slogans the standard way of doing things. This government has justified oppression in the religion's name, and has made many secret and illegal unprofitable deals [in the name of the nation].

The baseless and hollow claims of the Velaayat-e Faghih have become clear more than any other time, and the financial corruption of some strata of the ruling group has worried even some of those who are loyal to the political system. This regime can now appear powerful only through repression, frightening, prisons, and torture. Soon the Iranian people will pass their nightmare of oppression and ignorance [by the regime], and through unity take their nation to the heights it truly deserves. The fact that this will be at the same time as the historical developments in the region is a cause for great hope and at the same time calls for more wisdom.

We the signatories of this letter are concerned that resorting to humanitarian intervention and support for democracy becomes the basis for anti-Iranian actions and inhumane crimes. We are concerned that such eminent concepts and ideals as democracy, humanitarian aide, and human rights become a mask for power and interest of some who can once again hurt Iran and Iranians and push the country toward more destruction.

We the signatories of this letter believe, and declare according to our human responsibility, that humanitarian aide and democracy do not come out of barrels of guns; that humanitarian aide and democracy cannot be brought [to a nation] through guided missiles; that humanitarian aide and democracy cannot be brought to a people by dropping bombs on them, and that humanitarian aide and democracy cannot be shot at people by drones [pilot-less aircrafts]. We oppose military attacks on our country Iran under any excuse, including those under the guise of concerns for the irresponsible adventurism of the regime in its nuclear activities. It is, of course, preferable to disarm and neutralize the region of all weapons of mass destruction. The benevolent people, including the true supporters and activists of democracy for Iran, whether inside Iran or outside of it, are the voice of the people and share their pain, and will never consent to military attacks on Iran, massacre of thousands of people, and the destruction of the infrastructure of the nation that has been built over several generations and by paying a heavy price.

The voices of protests against the policy of oppression and repression [of the people] by the Islamic Republic are rising everywhere, from inside and outside Iran. It is not appropriate for the gathering of some of the opposition [to the regime] to be organized with the help of the foreigners, or be driven by the interests and goals of foreign powers. There should be no secret activities behind closed doors, away from oversight of the people, and without participation of all the opposition forces that are involved in the struggle for democracy and human rights in Iran.

We the signatories of this letter ask everyone to avoid falling in the dual trap of [a false choice between] "either the Velaayat-e Faghih or [accepting] the New Middle East," and be alert, and warn others, about both the policy of repression of the regime and the danger of military attacks by foreign powers. Due to the national interests of our country we stress that the government of the Islamic Republic should take steps to help the International Atomic Energy Agency and international monitors to remove all ambiguities from our country's nuclear program, so as not to give any excuse for the threat of war and destruction. We ask all the free thinking and researchers of the world to reveal both the vast corruption of the Velaayat-e Faghih system and the destructive results of worldwide militarism.

Mohammad Dehghan, a member of the leadership of the Majles, said that Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has appointed a group of legal experts to study "the problems of the constitution," bolstering a statement the Supreme Leader made two weeks ago in Kermanshah. "In perhaps a distant future," he said, the presidency in Iran may be eliminated and replaced by a prime minister selected by the Majles. According to Dehghan, "dozens of such problems that must be addressed have already been identified, some based on studies, and a report, which will soon be submitted to the office of the Supreme Leader."

Today, however, Dehghan denied his own report, attributing what he said to his own personal views. He claimed that while many people have discussed revising the constitution, with some even having passed their views on to Ayatollah Khamenei's office, it did not mean that they had done so at the behest of the Supreme Leader. Meanwhile, Khamenei's office issued a statement asking the media not to publish "unreal and baseless" reports on important issues, "particularly important and sensitive issues related to the constitution."

After Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani implied that he rejected Khamenei's suggestion for eliminating the presidency, Grand Ayatollah Seyyed Abdolkarim Mousavi Ardabili, an important marja' [source of emulation for Shiite masses] and close to the Green Movement, also opposed such a possible move. In a meeting with a group of journalists, the grand ayatollah said, "Changing the political system and selecting the president [or prime minister] by the parliament will decrease people's participation [in the national affairs arena]. But I do not believe that this will happen soon, and the decision of the Leader is not serious."

Thirty-six political prisoners issued a statement on Saturday, Nov. 5, calling on the Green Movement and the reformists to participate in the upcoming Majles elections in March 2012, only if they are open and free, and to refrain from allowing their participation to "legitimize an illegal election process." The prisoners referred to the Majles as a "sham," on a par with the Egyptian parliament during the rule of former president Hosni Mubarak. "For a long time, the blatant interference of the government, and especially that of security and military forces, has turned elections into an elaborately staged show," declared the statement. "And the resulting Majles has become a sham parliament, one that is even unable to defend its own rights and to ascertain the execution of its own legislation," it said, in a reference to recent legislation for oversight of Majles deputies. "The Majles has been humiliated on several occasions by the executive branch, and the president has remained silent in the face of all attacks against the rights of its representatives."

The Reformists will presumably boycott the elections because the government has not met the conditions set by former President Mohammad Khatami, namely, free and fair elections, freedom of the press and political parties, the unconditional release of political prisoners, and an end to the intervention by the military and security forces in the political and economical affairs of the country. The political prisoners declared that, "The administration that claimed to be the best government since the Constitutional Revolution [of 1905-1911] has become the worst government over the last century, and perhaps in Iran's entire history," attributing "Iran's current conditions" to "the natural outcome of the election coup of 2009."

The statement was signed by such prominent figures as former deputy minister of interior and outspoken reformist Mostafa Tajzadeh; Dr. Abdollah Ramazanzadeh, spokesman for the Khatami administration; nationalist-religious journalists Dr. Alireza Rajaei, Bahman Ahmadi Amooee, and Keyvan Samimi; former Majles deputy and university professor Ghasem Sho'leh Sa'di; Dr. Mohsen Mirdamadi, secretary-general of Islamic Iran Participation Front, the largest reformist party, which is outlawed by the government; former minister and deputy prime minister Behzad Nabavi; university activist Abdollah Momeni; Feyzollah Arab-Sorkhi, prominent member of the Organization of Islamic Revolution Mojahedin, the important reformist party outlawed by the hardliners; and Dr. Alireza Hossein Beheshti, university professor and campaign manager for Mir Hossein Mousavi.

Ammariyon, the hardline website that supports Khamenei, reported that supporters of Ahmadinejad intend to "weaken" or "eliminate physically" Major General Ghasem Soleimani, the commander of the Qods Force, and Hossein Taeb, the head of the intelligence unit of the Islamic Revolution Guard Corps. After the website published the news, it was forced to remove it just after a few hours (but interestingly not deny it). But by then other websites had reported on Ammariyon's report.

Meanwhile, the website Dolat-e ma, which supports Ahmadinejad, and had just published his hard-hitting speech against his foes and Khamenei's supporters, was blocked.

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov of Russia warned that military attacks on Iran "will be a serious mistake with unpredictable consequences." Speaking at a joint media conference with his Irish counterpart Eamon Gilmore, Lavrov said that there is no military solution to international conflicts. "We get evidence to that [lack of military solution] every day when we see how problems around Iran are being solved; whether it is in Iraq, or Afghanistan or what is happening in other countries of that region."

Copyright © 2011 Tehran Bureau

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